BALTIMORE, Md--A plan to keep the Preakness and rebuild both Pimlico and Laurel was announced on Oct. 4 by the city of Baltimore and the Stronach Group, owner of the tracks.
But there is the critical factor of getting the state legislature to provide funding for the project.
While the plans are certainly well thought out and would benefit both Baltimore and horse racing, getting the legislature to provide the funding is the elephant in the room.
The historic plan, which was also entered into by the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Industry, would keep the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course,enhance sustainable year-round Racing at Laurel Park and spur community improvements
The plan, also supported by Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Jr. and Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr., is to be submitted to state leaders for review and consideration in the 2020 Legislative Session.
THE PIMLICO plan includes a new state-of-the-art clubhouse and community events center at Pimlico,the 149-year-old track in Northwest Baltimore, replacing facilities that were over 100 years old in parts.
The clubhouse and events center will be a community asset and available for community use when not being used for the Preakness Stakes or other racing meets.
The Stronach Group has agreed to contribute the entire Pimlico site to Baltimore or an entity established by Baltimore to allow for community development in and around the racetrack and the Sinai Hospital area.
The plan envisions the multi-purpose and community uses for the clubhouse, racing facilities and infield, including for athletic and recreational purposes.
The Laurel Park plan also includes a new state-of-the-art clubhouse and world-class racing and training facilities, including the addition for racing and training of a new state-of-the-art, all-weather Tapeta™ track and new stables and training facilities in a horsemen’s village setting designed in consultation with the State’s racing industry.
“This is an historic moment,” said Baltimore Mayor Jack Young. “The Preakness Stakes is an important part of the City’s legacy and future. Today we submitted a Ietter on behalf of the City, The Stronach Group, the Maryland horsemen and County Executives Pittman and Olszewski to our leaders in Annapolis, which we hope they will find to be as thoughtful, significant and important as do we. By these recommendations, if approved, we can preserve the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico for generations to come and move forward with our redevelopment plans for the Park Heights community, Sinai Hospital and the Northern Parkway corridor. I could not be any more pleased, excited or proud. And, I want to thank Ms. Belinda Stronach for her vision and unwavering commitment to the City, the State and the racing industry.”
“These are transformative plans for the racing industry in Maryland and will benefit all of the stakeholders in the industry and the communities that surround the facilities. I want to thank the Mayor and the Maryland horse industry, along with County Executives Pittman and Olszewski, for this important and cooperative effort. I look forward to working with them and State leaders as they review these historic plans,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President of The Stronach Group.
“I am delighted by what I have seen in these plans. They are not only thoughtful, but visionary. If these plans are approved, I am confident that Laurel Park will become the model for racing and training facilities in the country,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Jr.
“The horse racing and breeding industries are an important part of Baltimore County’s economy and history. I am very pleased by this historic agreement and these forward-thinking plans. I look forward to working with our leaders in Annapolis to further Baltimore County’s interests in these discussions,” said Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr.
“I’m honored to have been involved in this project, and I thank the Mayor and Belinda for their vision and commitment to Maryland racing. If approved, and I hope it will be, this plan will establish Maryland as the epicenter of thoroughbred racing in the United States and enhance Maryland’s growing breeding industry,” said Alan M. Foreman, representative for the Maryland thoroughbred industry.
“This is a first step, but an important one. We believe we have presented for consideration a truly transformative plan for racing and the many stakeholders and communities of interest who are connected to racing and these facilities, and we’ve done so within existing sources of funds already available to the industry and the City,” said Alan M. Rifkin, Esq., counsel for the Maryland Jockey Club and Preakness Stakes®.
“The Plan we present today is not just about racing, it’s also about communities and the trajectory of our City. The Pimlico plans will accelerate the revitalization of Park Heights by at least a decade,” said William H. Cole, representative for the City.